North Korea latest: Britain sends warship to Far East to join force facing Kim Jong-un

HMS Sutherland will sail from Devonport in the New Year on a nine month deployment to the Far East.

In recent months North Korean tyrant Kim Jong Un has repeatedly vowed to fire nuclear weapons at the United States.

In September the rogue state detonated its sixth and biggest nuclear weapon in an underground test and has since test fired intercontinental ballistic missiles over Japan.

The US has responded by carrying out exercises on or near the Korean Peninsular with allies including South Korea and japan.

Earlier this week President Trump put North Korea back on the US list of state sponsors of terrorism.

Mr Trump has vowed to meet any North Korean aggression “with fire and fury like the world has never seen.”

But by February HMS Sutherland, a Type 23 frigate, will be ready to operate alongside US warships in the Pacific.

On a visit to HMS Sutherland Mr Williamson said it will be available to work closely with regional partners, including the US, Japan and South Korea and participate in joint training and exercises.

It will be followed to the Far East in December next year by another Type 23 frigate, HMS Argyll, which will also take part on exercises.

Mr Williamson said: “Our already strong defence ties with allies in the Asia Pacific area will be deepened further by this deployment.

“At a time when North Korea’s illegal weapons programme is causing global concern, the deployment of these two Royal Navy ships is a clear demonstration of the UK’s commitment to the peace and prosperity of the region.”

The announcement came as one of the Navy’s most sophisticated warships limped back from the Gulf after a propulsion problem.

HMS Diamond, a £1billion Type 45 destroyer, has had to abandon a multi-national mission to keep Gulf shipping lanes open and return to Portsmouth.